India versus Pakistan

Man U v Liverpool whatever? Madrid v Barca get to the back. India v Pakistan now there is a sporting rivalry. In the UK (well England we’ll touch on the Scots in a mo) we get our knickers in a twist about local rivalries, long-standing rivalries but nothing touches on the Big I versus the Big P.

We’re talking here about nation states, countries that have actually been at war with each, regularly! We’re talking about two countries considered the most likely to ever set off a nuclear war!! This is a game of sport that is to all intents and purposes a proxy for war, and we haven’t even mentioned the whole Hindu vs Muslim thing. It puts a bit of North London argy bargy at Arsenal v Spurs into context doesn’t it?

I guess there is one UK rivalry that can genuinely claim a ‘depth’ (for want of a better expression) to its tension to rival the sub-continent and that is the Old Firm. A Scottish match yes but in many ways it’s Britain vs Ireland, and Britain vs Ireland in the bad old days when one occupied the other, the later liked to bomb the former etc (although never at the same time I think). When there is genuine geo-political-religious subtext to a game of sport, going back decades if not hundreds of years, that tends put the hype around Gillette Soccer Sunday into perspective.